Investigators Say Bombing Suspects Were Headed For NYC to Set Off Explosives

New York City Mayor says the plan fell apart when they decided to stop for gas after stealing an SUV.


An empty tank of gas in the Mercedes SUV hijacked by Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev may be what foiled their plans to head to New York City.

According to the latest developments in the case of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Tsarnaevs allegedly planned to travel to New York City to set off six homemade bombs, including a pressure cooker bomb, but instead got into a police chase and shootout in Watertown after the owner of the Mercedes they stole called police while the suspects were filling the vehicle’s gas tank.

The older brother, Tamerlan, 26, was killed in the subsequent shootout. Dzokhar was later captured, found hiding in a boat in Watertown, and told FBI officials during interviews this week what the pair had planned.

During a press conference in New York City on Thursday, officials said the suspects were going to set the explosives off in a crowded Times Square, just days after they detonated two bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the plan was “spontaneous” and that it was “discussed … while riding around in the Mercedes SUV, after killing the MIT officer.”

When first interviewed about what the brothers’ intentions were on Sunday, two days after his capture, Dzokhar told investigators from his hospital bed that they were going to New York to “party.” In a follow-up interrogation, he admitted they were going to set off the bombs. He claimed that plan fell apart when the owner of the car they stole contacted officials, and police tracked down the getaway vehicle.

Officials said Dzokhar had visited New York twice in 2012, and they have surveillance of him in Times Square, but they don’t know who he went to see and what his intentions were while on the trips. “Whether we believe [the suspect] or not, this is the information we got and we are going to take it seriously … we have to assume the worst. It would be wonderful if it wasn’t true. But this is what the police [told us],” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the press conference Thursday.

Bloomberg said there is no evidence to indicate that the city is currently a target of another terrorist attack stemming from the Boston bombings.